Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Never-Ending Storm

Cheney derangement syndrome is apparently contagious. Pulitzer winner Maureen Dowd was caught cutting and pasting Josh Marshall (for all we know they collaborated on JournoList and forgot who was to take credit) and Larry Wilkerson made a timeline error.

Both were evidently in a hurry to move the focus off the fairy tale being told by Pelosi and back on Bushitler where it belongs. Funny, the left thinks it's the right trying to reframe the debate. Apparently it's OK to mislead when attacking an opponent for lying.

Anyway, as told by Maguire, Wilkerson's timeline mistake was explained, sort of, in an email to Spencer Ackerman:
I am basing my conclusions on the fact that DCI Tenet and DDCI McLaughlin presented the information about al-Libi to Secretary Powell in Feb 2003 and not in Feb 2002. The strong impression was that the interrogation had just occurred or, at a minimum, that Tenet had just received the information (otherwise, why wouldn’t they have given it to Powell much earlier, say when he first expressed concerns over the terrorist links some days earlier?).
The al-Libi confession should have been known to State intelligence since it had been bandied about through DIA as Maguire points out. Wilkerson's offhand suggestion they created the confession is obviously silly but was Powell or State read in on every CIA interrogation? Maybe they're still sore for not being trusted. How much of all this has been about ego and professional reputations?

Since Wilkerson's central defense involves Powell's trip to Langley to get his UN story straight devoid of interference by Bushco, let's go to George Tenet. Here he is describing the meeting scenario, beginning on page 372:
We could let the administration write its own script, knowing they might easily mischaracterize complex intelligence information, or we could jump in and help craft the speech itself. We chose the latter.
In other words, they were trying to tamp down the Laurie Mylroie lobby who was convinced Saddam was working with AQ, and Powell was helping. Tenet even scoffs at Scooter Libby for providing Powell...
..a forty-page paper of unknown origin entitled "Iraq's Dangerous Support for Terror" which the secretary promptly dismissed.
If al-Libi was mentioned in that 40 pager it certainly would shoot down Wilkerson completely but Tenet doesn't mention Libi in this section. He also doesn't mention any 11th hour intelligence given to Powell either, which would seem weird if they were working together to clean out some of the AQ-Saddam stuff.

Whatever the case Mr. Wilkerson seems to be suggesting that Pelosi is correct in her accusation that the CIA lied to Congress about various matters, in this case, Iraq. Based on Tenet's narrative (which has admittedly been shaky in some spots) the only way Wilkerson's account could be correct is if somebody in the White House backdoored the al-Libi info through Tenet after realizing Powell was wavering, which calls into question Mr. Tenet's truthfulness. Wonder when somebody will badger interview him on this?

As if on cue, Newsweek today picked up the al-Libi "suicide" story, dropping a hint as to the Obama administration's curiosity:
Al-Libi also had been identified recently by U.S. defense lawyers as a possible key witness in upcoming trials of top terror suspects. "We want answers," said an administration official familiar with the case, who asked not to be identified discussing a sensitive matter. "We want to know what really happened here."
'Demanding answers'? That's rich coming from an administration that still hasn't been up front about AF1 buzzing New York or the president's own college transcripts. Assuming these folks aren't blowing smoke to Newsweek in support of the above gameplan it's logical to wonder if they think someone murdered al-Libi in prison to cover something up? But who would have motive?

Al-Libi had already recanted his AQ-Iraq confession, providing embarrassment to Bush and the CIA, so how much worse could it get? Do we know whether Mr. dead terrorist wasn't prepared to recant his previous recantation? Why should anyone believe him anyway? Well OK yes, the left would have believed him wholeheartedly had he only bashed Cheney--maybe that's a motive for Darth. Or maybe he told the aid workers to screw off for their lack of help and that if ever called he was going back to his AQ-Saddam story. In that case maybe Quadaffy saw an opportunity to score points with Obama.

But the nonsense is already out of the barn. Stories are popping up to suggest that Emperor Cheney ordered interrogators to look for Iraq-AQ links at Gitmo, as if such a thing occurring in 2002 was tantamount to Cheney asking them to find links between AQ and the Pope. The anthrax attacks had not even been blamed on Steven Hatfill in early 2002.

Anyway, here we are talking about the UN, Libby and Iraq instead of the Speaker of the House politicizing national security and accusing the CIA of lying to Congress while Obama runs amok socializing and spreading wealth. Mission accomplished, at least for awhile.

MORE 5/19/09

Colonel Wilkerson appeared on the Maddow show last night:

The Weekly Standard sorts it out for us. His answer to the al-Libi timeline mistake was that he'll need to investigate more, as if he shouldn't have already been privy to the details bloggers so easily found by looking at publicly released Senate Intelligence reports. The whole thing has a kind of Clouseau/Barney Fife feel to it.

For instance, Wilkerson made a rather startling statement aside from al-Libi, saying that by 2002 (during the time the al-Libi and Zubaydah interrogations were ongoing) the US had not only "torn AQ a new one" in Afghanistan but done some other things to demobilize them to the point where, he says, people in 'the business' were not as worried about new attacks.

Really? Can he corroborate that, because the Bali bombing occurred in October 2002 and we still didn't have the top two kingpins of AQ in captivity, nor did we have KSM, Hambali, binalshibh, etc. Perhaps the Colonel has inside info he's not able to share to confirm this notion or perhaps his memory is somewhat fuzzy, but considering the Madrid and London attacks occurred after 2002 that certainly was an erroneous assumption if anyone made it.

But it does lend itself to a line of attack that suggests the administration was covering up their success against AQ to prepare for Saddam, and were torturing the necessary talking point links out of unsuspecting detainees to help them get there. And that Powell and Tenet were the fall guys should anything go wrong.

No comments: